Friday, July 18, 2014

Viva Italia and the beautiful Cinque Terre!

Our final days on the fabulous Med cruise were spent in Italy. None of us have been to Italy and it did not disappoint at all! Our last 3 days were spent in the ports of La Spezia, Civitavecchia and Naples. We originally had planned to head into Florence via a private tour from La Spezia but after reading about the fabulous Cinque Terre we decided to skip the museum tours (I'm sure our kids were more than grateful) and head to the Cinque Terre.

It's really easy to tour that area on your own. We trekked to the train station through the lovely village of La Spezia, about a 30 minute walk from the cruise port, and jumped onto the train to Riomaggiore, the first town in the 5 villages. We traveled with a great couple that I met through cruise's forums that were on the same cruise as us. We had planned to do the Provence wine tour with them in Marseille but bummer we didn't make port.

This is a map of the Cinque Terre. At the bottom is Portovenere. If you keep going around the corner you will eventually hit La Spezia where we made port.

Walking through the cute town of La Spezia

We made it to the train station and headed off to Riomaggiore

What a beautiful little village that is literally straight uphill!

I made Tommy take this pic of this cute little old guy tending the flowers 
on his balcony. I wonder if he's lived here all his life... what a view to have day in and day out!

His wife came out to join him shortly after but we missed the pic...

walking up the street

there are vineyards and gardens along the cliffs of these streets and the huge hills
that make up the Cinque Terre. I can't imagine tending these gardens!

But I am happy to drink their wine!

Wish we could grow this at home!

We weren't sure there was anything left to see up top but Dan volunteered to hike up and check it out...
He's there in the red P shirt... Pittsburgh Pirates maybe? I meant to ask...Lol

Lucky for us he volunteered or we would have missed out on some seriously spectacular views 
like this one!

and this one...

and this!

Hiking around the upper part of Riomaggiore with Dan and his wife Bre and the kids

all of these little streets were so narrow with doors to people's homes
and cute little flower pots outside each one
I can't imagine living here - seems almost like a fairy tale!

We headed back to the train and hopped it all the way to the last town in the 5 villages, Monterosso.
We didn't have time to visit them all...just need to make a trip back here I guess!

We found a cute cafe on the water for lunch

Finally a shot of all 4 of us!

Monterosso was far more touristy and I believe where many people stay when visiting the CT.
Beautiful beach and swimming here

I took this from my seat at lunch...rough view

wish we had brought our beach stuff here!

Interesting paddle boats to rent!

this was a far larger village to walk around in

little street shops and cafes everywhere...

Beautiful gardens

and the world's best Gelato!!! That's Jen peeking out!

We jumped the ferry back so that we could see the Cinque Terre from the sea

such a different perspective


Imagine living up there...

that is the train that connects all of the villages

we circled around to Portovenere where we had to take another ferry back to 
La Spezia and the cruise port

Big yachts in Portovenere

and very cute little boats!

back to La Spezia aboard the ship for a nice evening and dinner. 

the seagulls tagged along with us for a bit as we left port...

happy for some handouts!

We are heading to Civitavecchia tomorrow and our day in Rome.

That is quite an interesting story...tried to do our own "shore excursion" and save the big bucks
by not hiring the professionals... hmmm. Let's just say BIG MISTAKE!

Stay tuned for the next entry!

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